Digital Marketing

authentic blogIf you've been blogging for a while, you remember that thrilling moment when you realize someone is actually reading what you're writing. Maybe a few comments appear. Perhaps your blog URL gets retweeted by a kind friend. Or maybe yours just went viral all of a sudden. For me, blogging has been a slow burn.  Being syndicated has helped grow my blog traffic, but for me the  moment came the first time I realized I had a "fan." That's also the exact time when I began to struggle with authenticity.  I started pandering for traffic and stopped writing from the heart. I forgot my mission in the pursuit of popularity. And like all bloggers, I had to learn the ultimate lesson. Your writing has to be authentic to survive. I had lost my authentic voice. In hindsight it was a great lesson. The more I forget about pleasing people, the more popular my blog gets. When I think about it there were several signs that I missed along the road to fakiness. Hopefully you can learn from this hindsight and avoid making the same mistakes I did. Here is a checklist to make sure you're being authentic in your own work. More than a couple yes answers to these questions might be a red flag that your authenticity could be suffering: 

3 things all great digital marketers know, that you should too if you want to capture the power of integrated marketing. Online promotion and customer activity tracking have changed the face of marketing forever, that's a given. As a result of this I'm seeing some disturbing trends in digital marketing including a strong bias against  elements of marketing that have always packed a powerful punch. Every day there's a new digital "expert" telling me that numbers don't lie. Or that I need to add a tactic within my marketing strategy that is counter-intuitive to the overall plan, mainly because another digital marketing campaign found success using that tactic. I'm grateful to have the pleasure of working with true geniuses in the field of digital marketing. Here are three things really great digital marketers all understand  about integrated marketing: 1. Numbers are only half the story. Anyone who's done a ton of A/B testing will tell you there are some really weird subject lines and promotions that take off like a rocket. And we don't always know why. Great digital marketers know you have to throw in a few wild cards, particularly at the beginning of the campaign, because what the numbers will tell you will work, isn't always what works.  Numbers, plus experience and a bit of gut feel or intuition will always give you the best result. 2. Traditional media is still relevant. A lot of folks on the digital side look down their nose at print, network TV, direct marketing and other forms of traditional advertising and PR. Great digital marketers know that the best results (and this holds true for my IMC campaigns as well) result when there is an attempt to create synergy between digital tactics and traditional media. It may not be as glamorous as content marketing right now, but a good hit on local TV will always deliver for consumer brands. Learn how to synchronize digital tactics with these efforts, and they can provide a tremendous boost for online results.

jet-logo"Let's turn customers' shopping carts into improvised videos." It's an idea so brilliantly quirky as to border on insane - but Jet.com's one-day branding spectacular is one of the best examples of integrated marketing communications in action I've seen recently. The premise of the campaign, called #JetSpree, was simple but groundbreaking. One day only, during predefined hours, Jet.com asked shoppers for permission to turn their shopping carts into what they called "on-the-spot video." In essence, their purchases would be used as the inspiration for videos involving double dutch jump roping, a barbershop quartet, pantomime, yodeling, improv comedy, dancing toys and even a turtle. The videos were then shared on YouTube and social media during the event.

4332095101_0b429f0a4b_o By Dina Ely I recently had the “pleasure” of having to update approximately 60 business local listings for a client across the Google and Yahoo local business networks, and what I experienced working with both companies on this was an eye-opener. In the end, I think I've figured out why Google will always trump Yahoo, and how out of touch Yahoo is with the needs of small and medium businesses. (Marissa Mayer, take note - there are a few things I think you've forgotten since the Google days.) For this grand adventure I worked in the dashboards of both sites as well as extensively on the phone with support. Let me compare and contrast the overall experience and discuss a few takeaways. Yahoo Both Google and Yahoo play an important role in local search (as do a few other players – but that's another post for another time). Google is used more by customers in local searches, but to ignore Yahoo altogether would be foolhardy. Especially since Yahoo, like Google, offers free business listings. What they also offer, and pretty much give you no choice but to use, is a variety of subscription-based services including Localworks, which starts at $29.99/month per listing. Here's where I hit my first road block. In order to do anything substantial with these 60 some odd listings, I really had no choice but to pay for a Localworks package just to get a fully-featured version of the marketing dashboard. If you try to go the free route, the tools available to you are minimal and it's virtually impossible to do anything on the kind of scale I needed. I claimed and prepared to edit every outdated listing, but everything came to a grinding halt when I hit the log jam of verification postcards. (This will come up with Google too, in just a minute.)

video marketingIf a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a video worth? Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research placed the value of a video at 1.8 million words in, "How Video Will Take Over the World." While this may be surprising to you, most big brands fully embrace the concept and use video marketing to its fullest potential, and small businesses need to take notes. Continue reading to learn more.

1. Tell a Story

All of the biggest brands use storytelling in their videos. Stories evoke emotions from the consumer and prompts them to associate those same feelings with the product or brand. One great example of using storytelling is with LifeLock's "Summer" video. The video features a family enjoying the beach on vacation, children playing with their parents, and a couple experiencing new adventures. The video tells a story that is relatable. At the same time, the video explains the inherent risk of identity theft and how it could disrupt those picture perfect scenarios. The storytelling tactic prompts powerful imagery in the mind of the consumer and causes significantly more interest in the product and brand.

2. Optimize for SEO

All big brands effectively optimize their videos for SEO because videos are 50 times more likely to make it to the top of a search page in comparison to text. When you upload your videos to YouTube or other video sharing platforms, make sure you use keywords in the titles, descriptions and tags. It's much easier to spread videos over the Internet because most search engines give videos priority over other content types. In addition, Google allows users to perform web searches specifically for videos. Optimizing videos for SEO positions your company to rank higher and increase brand recognition just like some of the larger companies.

3. Always Add Value

With the advent of massive social media advertising, internet banner ads, and direct email marketing, many companies have abandoned tried and true marketing methods to go digital and boost their firms online presence. But going exclusively into a cyber-marketing strategy can be a big mistake. We can't neglect the amazing speed, versatility, and customization of digital marketing. But what's often overlooked is the ability to use these tools jointly with the traditional marketing strategies to build power for both components. As you develop your advertising and publicity campaign, consider some of the ways that the old dog can do new tricks.

content marketingSeventy-one percent of marketers will increase their spending on content marketing this year, according to recent Curata report. The report, which surveyed 500 industry professionals, found that best-in-class marketing campaigns rely on a predominance of 65 percent original content, supplemented by curated and syndicated material. The payoff is tangible, with 62 percent of companies reporting that content marketing improves both their quantity and quality of leads. But creating content costs money, a reality reflected in Gartner's finding that small businesses will spend 10 percent more on digital marketing this year. If you're just starting to promote your business via content marketing, your budget is probably limited—making it imperative you develop a cost-efficient strategy for funding your initial promotional push.

Scale Your Budget to Your Revenue

A 2012 survey by Staples found that the average small business operates on a $2,000 per year marketing budget. According to the Small Business Administration, however, the smart strategy is to scale your marketing to your revenue projections, which might make this too small.

[caption id="attachment_5754" align="alignright" width="300"] Credit AMC TV[/caption] By Satish Polisetti As more sites like Facebook, Twitter and Buzzfeed blend ads directly into a user's content stream, the future of online advertising is quickly shifting. It's a brave new world defined by content, not dimensions; mad math, not mad men. Science and data, not merely creative endeavors. Where are we today? Currently, online ads are defined primarily by size and dimensions -- with IAB ad unit guidelines describing leaderboards (728 x 90 pixels), skyscrapers (160 x 600), and full banners (468 x 60), to name a few. These very basic but widely accepted standards are based on the artistic perspectives of a previous generation - from the minds of creative geniuses you might see on Mad Men. These have more to do with traditional ad buys, and print ad dimensions, ones that have not really changed much in the past few decades since the swinging 60's of Don Draper. When we jumped into internet advertising, the look and feel of advertising changed, but standards failed to get with the times. And then there were banners: